Monday, January 14, 2013

How many licks does it take to get to the sensor of a camera?

Back in August 2012 I encountered the wonderful combination of a heatwave and an exceptionally boring weekend. I also had 3 camera bodies and a tub of ice cream lying around. Unfortunately this coincided with a shortage of cones and clean bowls, so it was only a matter of time before some MacGyver flashbacks forced the inevitable collision of food and surplus camera gear.

After a few minutes of careful thought (or lack thereof), I realized that an EF mount is almost the exact same diameter as a scoop of ice cream, thus making it a perfect cone substitute. Of course I had no intention of turning a camera body into a dairy infected brick, either. That made step one selecting my most expendable body, which in a collection consisting of a 5D, 50D, and 20D (review), was obviously the 20D. Next up was finding a way to ensure the camera would still be easy to clean and usable afterwards, yet still allow the ice cream to sit inside the lens mount. After raiding the kitchen I ended up with a few materials that would do the trick:

Seen above are the 20D, some plastic wrap, a cut-out of a styrofoam cup, the bottom of a clear plastic cup, some Q-Tips, an ice cream scoop, and obviously the ice cream. The wrap was used to cover the electrical contacts and tuck underneath the mount itself to add a moisture seal. Next up was the bottom of the styrofoam cup to give a firm seal over the mirror box, which when combined with the plastic more or less guaranteed nothing could leak into there. Finally, the bottom of the plastic cup, which still had a couple mm of its lip left intact were placed overtop of the other two layers. So prior to being scooped, the setup looked like below, which is labelled for convenience.

For obvious reasons, I started setting up my gear to take shots of the...whatever you'd call this prior to filling it with dairy goodness. I used a Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 lens mounted (by way of an adaptor/extension tube) onto my 50D, which sat atop a Gorillapod SLR-Zoom. Luckily I was in room that was made mostly of windows, so I didn't need to use any kind of external lighting - something that's a pain at near-macro focusing distance.

The setup - complete with poor choice of focal points

With all the setup done, it was time to add a single scoop of heavenly hash into an ageing camera. Remember at the beginning how I mentioned there was a heat wave? Well, I sure didn't, since I forgot a fairly important step that I had planned to do: refrigerate the 20D for a few minutes in order to cool it down. Thanks to this, the instant I emptied the scoop into the camera, it instantly became a snowball in hell (oh, the wonders of conduction) so I didn't have too long to photographically document it thanks to the rapid melting. Sadly I hadn't really planned my composition at all, forcing me to scramble with different angles to see what worked. Early attempts looked pretty crappy, but in under a minute I had found something pleasing. Thankfully the results ended up decent before I had to 'remove' the ice cream from its new-found container.

Don't eat the cone - I tried

After a rather hurried consumption of the contents, next up came the fun part. Actually it was far more painless that I thought. Most of what was left behind came out when I took out the plastic wrap, and the leftovers were fairly quickly removed with a single serviette and two Q-tips. Aside from the mount of my 20D smelling like chocolate to this day (5 months later), the body emerged unscathed. I would end this with a don't try this at home disclaimer, but frankly I'd enjoy hearing about any failed future attempts. I'll leave you with what it looks like after removing the clear plastic cup.
In my defense, it seemed like a stupid idea at the time.

1 comment:

  1. At last ... it is revealed ... the reason that you are the "Loonie" photographer